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Canal fully functional; villagers cheer as Narmada water approaches Kutch

The development marked the completion of the KBC, the only branch canal which was incomplete, and Narmada waters reaching 750 kilometres from Narmada dam, authorities of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) said.

Rajkot, Kutch Branch Canal, Kutch district, Narmada dam, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsPeople gather on Kutch Branch Canal in Mandvi taluka of Kutch to welcome Narmada waters, in Kutch on Wendesday. (Express photo)

HUNDREDS OF people lined up and cheered wildly along the bank of Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) as Narmada water approached Mod Kuba, the village marking the tail-end of KBC in Mandvi taluka of Kutch district on Wednesday.

The development marked the completion of the KBC, the only branch canal which was incomplete, and Narmada waters reaching 750 kilometres from Narmada dam, authorities of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) said.

“All the civil work and engineering work of the 350-kilometre KBC is complete and we have been testing the canal since the last week by releasing water into it. The water is expected to reach Mod Kuba, the tail end of the KBC in early hours of Thursday,” SSNNL chairman JP Gupta told The Indian Express.

People gather on Kutch Branch Canal in Mandvi taluka of Kutch to welcome Narmada waters, in Kutch on Wendesday. (Express photo)

“This will mark Narmada waters flowing 750 kilometres from the Sardar Sarovar dam, the longest distance in a man-made canal,” he added.

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Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions have already been receiving Narmada waters through the Saurashtra Branch Canal and its six sub-branch canals as well as well as through the canal network in north Gujarat.

KBC offtakes from the Narmada Main Canal (NMC) near Radhanpur and crosses the Little Rann of Kutch before entering Kutch near Rapar. “There were many challenges in completing this canal. There is fall as the canal offtakes and enters the Rann of Kutch. Then, we have to lift water again to channel it further. In fact, a section of the KBC is 16 metres above the ground level, which is as high as a six storey building,” Gupta said.

Besides the technical and engineering challenges, there were issues of land acquisition and compensation as the canal was passing through some orchards and some very green areas, he said, adding, “We have overcome all of them and the canal is ready now.”

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The SSNNL chairman said that while the NMC and branch canals of the Narmada dam project have been completed, around 96 per cent of network of distributary canals and between 85 to 90 percent network of minor and sub-minor canals has been completed. “We have completed around 60,000-kilometre network of canals as part of the project,” said Gupta.

Vraj Pandya, SSNL executive engineer for the KBC, said water had reached upto chainage 345 km in KBC at 10.30 pm Wednesday. “We are expecting water to reach Mod Kuba around 1 am,” Pandya said, adding three pumping stations at different locations in the KBC are lifting water 56 metres to flow it till its tail-end.

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As Narmada waters approached villages like Bidada and Koday near Mandvi town, hundreds of villagers gathered on the canal banks and cheered wildly.

The construction of KBC upto chainage 214 km was complete in 2017 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated that section in May that year by releasing water into Tappar Dam near Anjar. However, work was delayed for the rest of the length of the canal as there were missing links cumulatively measuring 24 kilometres due to pending land acquisition and other delays. “We completed those sections over the past one year and now the canal structure is ready,” Pandya added.

Once they reach Mod Kuba, the Narmada waters will escape in Mod Kuba river, marking the tail of the canal.

First published on: 07-07-2022 at 00:04 IST
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